Recovering "Hard" Deleted Items from Outside of the Deleted Items Folder
If you hard delete an item from Outlook (shift delete or empty the deleted items folder), then there are two ways to get it back.
- Outlook and the command "Recover Deleted items"
- Outlook Web Access
This article discusses both methods.
NOTE: Recovery of deleted items in this way is also dependant on an Exchange server setting. If your email administrator hasn't enabled it, then you will not have anything to recover.
Recover Deleted Items in Outlook
If you delete an item from the "Deleted Items" folder, either by deleting it permanently or emptying the Deleted items folder, then you can get it back by selecting the Deleted Items folder and then choosing Tools, Recover Deleted Items.
However this option isn't available to you by default if you try it with any other folder.
Therefore if you "hard delete" items (hold down shift and press the delete key) from one of the other folders, then you cannot recover them, as they haven't been through the "Deleted Items" folder.
However it is possible to enable the "Recover Deleted Items" menu for all folders via an additional registry key. This change is workstation, not account specific, so would need to to carried out on all machines that has Outlook installed.
If you are an email administrator you may decide to do this on just your own machine so that you can control access to this feature - although a savvy user could access the deleted items folder via OWA (see below).
Copy the following text in to notepad, and save it as dumpster.reg, changing the file type to "All Types" so that it is saved as a registry file. Then double click to install it.
More Information can be found in this Microsoft KB Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/178630
If you are using RPC over HTTPS, then you should also be aware of this article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/886205 and plan to make the change on all users of RPC over HTTPS as soon as possible if you want to use this feature with them.
Recovering Deleted Items through Outlook Web Access on Exchange 2003
You can also recover deleted items through a custom URL using Outlook Web Access. This is often the easiest way to recover deleted items, particularly folders from Public Folders. It also doesn't require a registry change on the workstation, just permissions to the mailbox.
Recovery of Items from a Mailbox
To recover items from a mailbox using OWA, the URL that you use is
Where servername is the name of your Exchange server, alias is the mailbox name (often the same as the username, but not always). The folder listed (in the example above, inbox) is the folder that you want to recover the items from. This can be any folder in the mailbox.
When prompted, you need to login with an account that has credentials to access the mailbox - "Full mailbox access" permissions. Usually you would use the user's account, but you could use another account that has the required permissions.
You will then see a list of deleted items. Select what you need to recover and choose Recover.
Recovery of Items from Public Folders
Recovering items from public folders is very similar to the mailbox method, although the URL needs to be adjusted and you can use different credentials.
To recover the deleted items from a public folder, enter the following URL, with the required adjustments:
Change the "servername" to be your Exchange server's name.
Change the rest of the path to match the path to the parent of the folder that you deleted.
For example, if you deleted a folder called "John" which was a sub folder of a folder called Diary which was part of a folder called Staff, then the URL would be:
When you are prompted to login, use Administrator credentials if possible, to avoid any security issues.
The folder that you deleted should be shown. Select it and choose Recover.
Close OWA and Internet Explorer, as the authentication information could be cached by logging in this way.